Phenome Networks Announces Project Unity

Jamie JohansenAgribusiness, Research

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 9.03.09 AMPhenome Networks, a plant breeding management and analytics Software-as-a-Service company, announced the beta launch of its Project Unity at the Plant and Animal Genome (PAG) XXIII conference in San Diego.

Today, plant and animal breeders must discover the crops to feed the future through breakthrough research. Yet, at the same time, phenotypic data from hundreds of genetic studies conducted in academia – examining plant species in multiple locations/conditions, population types, environmental conditions and locations – is lost. How can research then detect the genes that confer improved plant or animal traits? Although the data is public and is immensely valuable, this data is lost. Datasets are published in scientific journals (as PDF files) and the underlying raw data is left in researchers’ spreadsheets.

Project Unity was conceived to correct that wrong. It is a collaborative web-based network designed to host, manage, analyze and share phenotypic and genotypic studies of plants and animals. Project Unity lets researchers privately link and correlate their results with the world’s data, unleashing research insights through big data analytics. Researchers can connect their entities (genotypes, phenotypes and markers) to common ontologies and maps and get immediate access to the entire amazing wealth of research data from leading universities.

By default, data loaded into Project Unity is private and can be accessed only by the person who uploaded it. Sharing of data sets, either with specific users or with the public is fully upon the user’s discretion.

Project Unity simplifies the analysis process of phenotypes and genotypes, creates standardization and allows smart comparison among different data sets, eventually leading to better understanding of genes’ effects on phenotypes. The platform is currently in beta and free of charge for academic use. Later in 2015, it will be upgraded to include full plant breeding management functionality.